By Meg Olson
In his new biography of Gene Kiniski, author Steven Verrier goes beyond the wrestling legend to document a life that left its stamp on the communities of Blaine, Point Roberts and beyond.
“I had no idea what a complex character Gene Kiniski was and what an impact he had on so many people,” said Verrier, whose book, Gene Kiniski: Canadian Wrestling Legend, was just released in January. “I aim to tell the story of Kiniski, his complexities, his era and his setting in a way that satisfies a broad readership. Kiniski was much more than a wrestler, and his biography aims to be much more than a wrestling book.”
Kiniski is remembered for his accomplishments in the ring and signature style by generations of wrestling fans who remember him as “Canada’s Greatest Athlete.” He was a leading wrestler for a quarter century, with three years as National Wrestling Alliance champion. He was also the co-owner of a wrestling promotion company in British Columbia.
“There aren’t many Kiniski-style wrestlers anywhere these days – sharp talkers and bruising technicians you can take seriously,” Verrier said.
Verrier’s book draws from interviews with people who knew Kiniski in and out of the ring, including his sons Kelly and Nick, and his many friends who knew him from his retirement years in Blaine and Point Roberts. “I joke with Steve that he knew my Dad better than I did,” Nick Kiniski said.
Verrrier is currently working on events to celebrate the release of the book in both Blaine and Point Roberts. An event at the Reef Tavern, owned by Nick Kiniski and full of memorabilia of his father’s career, is planned for April.